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Kevin Durant (36) helps Nets power past Cavaliers

Apr 8, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) controls the ball against Cleveland Cavaliers guard Caris LeVert (3) during the first quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Durant scored 36 points as the host Brooklyn Nets used a big fourth quarter to survive blowing an early 17-point lead in a 118-107 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night in New York.

The Nets (43-38) moved into seventh place in the Eastern Conference. They share the same record as Cleveland (43-38) but won three of four meetings to claim the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Brooklyn won its third in a row by outscoring Cleveland 29-14 over the final 9:52 and 37-19 in the final 14-plus after trailing 88-81 late in the third. It was Brooklyn’s second straight impressive finish following Wednesday’s win over the crosstown rival Knicks.

Durant made 11 of 20 shots, including the go-ahead 3-pointer that put Brooklyn up 95-93 with 8:52 left. He then added a 3-pointer for a 102-97 lead with 6:31 remaining and the Nets opened a 112-99 lead on Seth Curry’s 3-pointer with 3:39 to go.

Kyrie Irving added 18 points and eight assists for Brooklyn, which shot 46.7 percent. Bruce Brown nearly posted a triple-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Andre Drummond contributed 15 point and 12 rebounds, including three baskets during Brooklyn’s final run, and Curry chipped in 12.

Darius Garland scored 31 points for the Cavs but took a hard fall with 3:54 remaining when he collided with Irving. Lauri Markkanen added 17 and Evan Mobley also finished with 17 in his return from an ankle injury.

Cleveland dropped to 6-11 since losing former Brooklyn center Jarrett Allen to a fractured finger on March 6.

Durant scored 16 points as the Nets held a 34-19 lead through the opening quarter. Caris LeVert’s layup cut the deficit to 53-48 with 2:33 remaining but Brooklyn took a 62-54 lead by halftime on Durant’s 12-foot fadeaway with 6.7 seconds.

The Nets held a 70-60 lead on Brown’s layup with 9:53 remaining but never gained separation and Cleveland took an 82-81 lead on Isaac Okoro’s layup with 3:29 to go. Okoro’s layup was part of an 11-2 run that gave Cleveland an 88-83 lead into the fourth.

–Field Level Media

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